Thursday, 22 June 2017
A Chat With The Sensational Sam Fine
Sources sat down with the iconic makeup artist (artist in the truest sense of the word) Sam Fine, who, over the past 20+ years, revolutionized what we recognize today as classic beauty techniques. They gleaned both the origins for his love of makeup, as well as his philosophy behind creating eternally classic looks for such mega stars as Janet Jackson, Naomi Campbell, Patti LaBelle, Queen Latifah, and Mary J. Bilge, to name a few.
Where did your love affair with makeup and makeup artistry begin?
Sam Fine: As a child, I was an illustrator. I’ve always been artistic, whether that was singing, dancing, or sketching a piece for the school newspaper. But really I didn’t know a career in makeup existed in my youth. I’m also the youngest of four; having three sisters there was always immense creativity in the house. My mother was either sewing or doing hair, so that was around me as well.
Originally, I moved to NYC to study fashion illustration at Parsons and took a job at a cosmetic counter where I quickly heard from my colleagues that I seemed to be really good at it. It was art – just of a different nature. So I embraced it immediately and started assisting freelance makeup artists. Over time, I came in contact with a few celebrities and pretty soon I found myself getting fired from my cosmetic counter job! I became a freelance makeup artist and never looked back.
TLLC: Who were your greatest influences and teachers of your craft?
SF: I always start with Craig Rex Perry, who was an illustrator/instructor at the Arts Institute of Chicago. I received a scholarship to study there my junior year in high school and he was a huge inspiration to me, not just in terms of craft, but a role model for where I could go in business as a professional artist. Shortly after high school, I met Joseph Hampton through a friend who was a model. Eventually, he became my best friend as well as my mentor and really helped me become the artist I am today.
Then there also was Fran Cooper, who I assisted in my early career. She introduced me to Naomi Campbell when I was twenty-one. I ran into her and Naomi not too long ago and Fran is still a role model/mentor to me today! This industry is very cyclical.
TLLC: You are attributed for innovating how makeup transitioned from the ’80’s to the ’90s. How did you arrive at your particular technique?
SF: I came into this business at a wonderful time when a strong, classic, perfect brow was just making a resurgence. Back to my early days of art/illustration, aspects of makeup like contouring, highlighting, matte shadows, matte lipsticks were coming back on the scene. It was just a bea-u-ti-ful time for makeup. Also, you had these gorgeous supermodels who wore it so wonderfully. Magazines and models lead the trends even more so than celebrities. There were fewer outlets to receive information from so you could really curate or craft an aesthetic that was classic and minimal.
In terms of my distinct aesthetic, my mother and sisters wore very little makeup. My mom has always been very classy/elegant. That’s just the house that I came from, so like any other artist, I’m sharing my vision for what I think will make the woman in my chair look her best.
TLLC: What are some notable makeup trends of summer 2017?
SF: Most women gravitate to what they are most comfortable with. More often, they are one or two products away from achieving greater results. So if you’re a woman using foundation with powder and you’re not using something to illuminate the skin like a bronzer, you may want to add that extra step to your routine to enhance your look. I think it’s especially helpful if a woman has a sense of what she’s trying to achieve but just can’t quite figure out how she can apply it to her regular routine. That’s the starting point for discovery. So then it’s a question of what does she need to achieve the desired outcome. Is it color, more coverage, or a texture that we are looking to create? Whatever that missing element is, trends, in my opinion, are about finding that one product that allows you to step out of the box but doesn’t overpower your personality. That is the “trend” for you this season.
TLLC: What are three makeup products that every woman should own and why?
SF: Threeee? Oh God, I think there are at least five. It’s like building a cake. There are some ingredients you just need. Even in my class, I find myself always going back to the basics. You have to have foundation and powder. Then a bronzer. There are bronzers out there that can have you shinning like a disco ball or can just provide you with a little bit of a warm sun-kissed hue. Then there’s mascara, a tinted lip gloss, a lip stain or a color, and you’re out the door.
TLLC: What are some age-defying techniques mature women can implement to get a healthy glow?
SF: I think we don’t put enough emphasis on bringing great coverage. I was just working with Nancy Wilson, who is 80-years-old, for her birthday and she didn’t want lashes. So I focused on coverage, lots of mascara. When I worked with Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, and Eartha Kit, coverage is the first thing I go for because it brings back luminosity as well as a consistency in color/tone in areas where that may show signs of aging: the eyes, moles, age spots. These things distract from bone structure. So foundation helps to provide a really clean slate.
TLLC: Where else can we find more of the phenomenal Sam Fine knowledge, insight, and expertise?
SF: Most of what I’ve done so far is professional/industry driven. There’s my work with Queen Latifah and her new movie Girls Trip. I also offer hands-on Master Classes in NY, as well as LA, to professional makeup artists. I announce when I’m offering those on my social media page @iamsamfine, but I am working on cosmetics. This will really expand my conversation with consumers. I do offer my book and a DVD on www.SamFine.com, but the majority of my work has been focused on industry professionals. A product line will allow me to do more in-store appearances, tutorials, and speaking engagements centered around educating consumers on how to use product.
TLLC: Be sure to come back and chat with us again, once you’ve launched the line. We’re waiting with baited breath!